Most people would probably question me about why I’m so passionate about technologies that many people would consider old-fashioned in the digital age. Like LinkedIn and blogging.
But let me explain why I believe that Linkedin still has a lot going for it. Even more than many other networks (looking at you Facebook and Twitter).
Relationships are everything in business and digital relationships count now.
Back in the day, you had to look someone in the eye and shake their hand to make a deal. That was before the lawyers decided that it was better to have a signed contract in case someone didn’t hold up their end of the deal.
Now I would say that I’m more trusting of a person who I can observe digitally – if I can see what they’ve done and who they’ve done it with.
The business world has shifted slowly into the digital realm (definitely not as quickly as consumers) and I now trust the relationships I have on LinkedIn even when I haven’t met the person face to face – why? Because over time, I’ve made a lot of handshake deals and heard about a lot of deals done through Linkedin. It’s a relationship I can count on even if it is digital.
Your rolodex needs to be in the cloud.
When I was first in business, I couldn’t wait to get my new business card. I passed them out like candy. Here I am – make sure I get in your rolodex – I’m a legitimate part of the business world.
Now I can never find my own business cards. I feel bad to when someone asks for my card. Why? Why do you need it? Isn’t this just an obligation now? You are just going to forget it in your bag when you get back to the office. Just Google me and you’ll find my information (on LinkedIn). But as a marketer I understand that the business card is a takeaway and a reminder to connect with me via LinkedIn.
Nowadays I try and link up on Linkedin with everyone I’m going to meet ahead of time if I can. Why? Well, I can see their face and be forever connected to them; therefore, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get their card.
Food production conversations are happening, where is the dairy industry?
When it comes to finding the dairy industry on Linkedin, it’s pretty easy. Just do a search on the company you are looking for and you’ll discover new connections through your network.
Why so few? I’m not really sure here. Maybe the industry is just slower to adopt new technologies (hmmmm…that’s not really true when you look at how dairy is processed today – they love technology for making the product safer and easier to process).
The dairy industry is full of wonderful leaders with category breaking ideas. By joining Linkedin and connecting with the Dairy and Food Groups that are out there, you can meet up with others in the industry, to share ideas and learn new things about the future of the dairy industry.
But you have to be there first. Signing up is free – dedicating a small portion of your time (like 20 minutes a week) to LinkedIn could get you a partnership or product. You just never know. But what will happen if you don’t join? Nothing. Simply nothing.
When someone Googles you, where is your professional bio?
So who have you Googled recently? A speaker for a conference? An ex? A celebrity who just did something racy?
What happens when someone Googles you? You need to logout of Chrome or Firefox first. Or even pick a different browser before Googling yourself.
What comes up? Anything? What does that say about you?
LinkedIn is a powerful website and if you put content into it about you there’s a good chance that it will show up on the first page.
And if that person Googling you is looking for your business acumen, then you can guarantee they are going to research your profile. Here’s a chance to put your best foot forward and also have some control over what Google says about you.
Others vouch for your reputation.
Getting recommendations isn’t the easiest thing to ask for but LinkedIn makes it about as easy as it can get. By just clicking a few links, you can send a recommendation email (they even halfway write it for you).
Then once you have your recommendation, anyone visiting your profile can see. Your recommendations are always there and they are tied to the other person so they can be asked about the recommendation they gave.
If you want recommendations, the best thing to do is give a few out. There are people you’ve worked with that have done some extraordinary things for your career. Let them know and you are likely to receive in return.
You can meet others outside your industry.
When you go to industry conferences, it’s doubtful you are meeting with a lot of people outside your industry (you know, besides vendors who have very different intentions meeting you).
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to meet people over topics (I really like the Marketing Over Coffee LinkedIn Group and my Notre Dame Alumni Group). And since it is on Linkedin, the conversations are geared more to business than groups on Facebook or Google+.
Smart job searches start with connections not search engines.
Jobs of the future don’t have much to do with résumés. A résumé is still a requirement but many HR departments will head straight to your LinkedIn profile to get a more thorough look at your career as well as check to see who you are connected with.
Don’t you see how this will be the same for our kids – in fact, your connections might be the ones that get them a job.
This is where business news is shared.
Tired of digging through various newspapers to find good business articles? Use LinkedIn Pulse and you’ll see business news that is focused on your tastes – not on the general business public. Mine centers on technology and communications business – imagine that.
How can you call yourself a thought leader and not be digital?
This seems like a no-brainer but if you want to be a mover-and-shaker in the dairy industry and you aren’t using your social tools to communicate, I believe you are making it more difficult for yourself to be trusted as an industry leader.
LinkedIn is the first step and probably the easiest one to take.
Mentoring happens both in person and on the web.
You can teach the next generation of leaders how to be leaders – via the web.
Many leaders I know say they don’t have time to use things like LinkedIn yet they usually want to mentor the younger generations on how to be better leaders.
If you use LinkedIn and connect with these younger leaders you can mentor many of them at once. Your updates can be tidbits of how you do leadership, sharing articles, and engaging with them. You can mentor them on how to interact with people both online and offline via the tool.
We need your professionalism and opinion on these networks so younger leaders have someone to follow beyond their peers.
So how do you get started using LinkedIn, here’s a how to set up a Linkedin profile.
Do you need help with your personal branding, I can do that. Just hit me and we’ll go through the process of setting up your brand.